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Hamburg Central to get state aid that had been denied

Hamburg Central was one of five school districts in the state that did not agree on a teacher evaluation plan by the deadline in 2013, and New York State withheld the increase in state aid that year.

But now the district will be getting the state aid, thanks to the efforts of the superintendent and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo.

Hamburg was the only district in the state to lose aid because of lack of an agreement on an evaluation plan. Superintendent Steven Achramovitch was heading the district, and relations between teachers and the administration got testy during the negotiations.

At one point, the superintendent sent a plan to the state, but it had not been signed by the district or the teachers union. As the clock ticked down and the two sides were on the brink of reaching an agreement on the Annual Professional performance Review , teachers accused the district of threatening their jobs if they did not vote in favor of the evaluation plan.

Talks broke down, the deadline was missed, and the district lost $482,000, the increase in state aid it was slated to get in 2013.

While the state had threatened to reduce aid to the other districts, only Hamburg had the money withheld.

“There’s no reason that our school district should continue to have imposed upon us any penalty when nobody else in the state has faced a similar consequence,” Superintendent Michael Cornell said.

Cornell said he had been on the job as superintendent for six weeks when he started researching the lost aid in spring 2015. He contacted Ryan, who was able to secure $241,000 in aid this year. It is expected the rest will be included in next year’s budget, Cornell said, in praising Ryan for his efforts.

“I’ve always said that, while it is not our job to change our past, it is our job to shape the present and the future of our school district,” Cornell said.

He said the district will likely use the funding for a non-recurring expense.